Australian new frog species discoveries


Newly discovered Australian frog

From AAP news agency in Australia:

Two new species of frog discovered

By Evan Schwarten

October 06, 2011 5:28PM

SCIENTISTS have discovered two new species of frogs living in remote pockets of Cape York Peninsula.

Queensland-based scientists Conrad Hoskin and Kieran Aland discovered the new species in isolated piles of boulders while on a research trip to the region last year.

Dr Hoskin said the new species, the Kutini Boulder-frog (Cophixalus kulakula) and Golden-capped Boulder-frog (Cophixalus pakayakulangun), were not only new to science but also were previously unknown to the local Lockhart River Aboriginal community.

The discovery doubles the number of known boulder-dwelling frog species in Australia – two other species can also be found at Cape York.

However, Dr Hoskin said the new discoveries were not closely related to the other species and appear to have evolved entirely separately in their respective rock formations.

“They’ve all basically evolved to their own boulder piles. It’s really interesting,” he said.

Dr Hoskin said that, as a result of their evolutionary histories, the species had developed some distinguishing features.

“They have got these adaptations to living in the rocks, they’ve got these really long arms and big hands and big triangular finger disks,” he said.

“They look a bit different to a typical frog … they are amazing.”

Dr Hoskin said the frogs retreated to the cool and damp recesses of the rock piles during Cape York’s brutal dry season but came out in large numbers to catch food during the wet.

He said he was excited to have discovered an entirely new species.

“You just rock up, you see these things and you immediately know they are brand new, it’s not often you get to discover a really distinctive new species, it’s pretty exciting,” he said.

Dr Hoskin said he believed there were many species – including reptiles, insects and plants – waiting to be discovered in the isolated and environmentally pristine region.

See also here. And here.

Scientists are returning hundreds of corroboree frog eggs to the wild in the hope of boosting the population: here.

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2 thoughts on “Australian new frog species discoveries

  1. US officials seek to protect tiny Puerto Rico frog

    16 hours ago

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A Puerto Rican frog about the size of a toenail could receive protection from U.S. environmental officials, who announced Tuesday they would like to list it as an endangered species.

    The coqui llanero is the island’s smallest tree frog and has a call with such a high-pitched frequency that it can barely be heard, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

    The agency said it is proposing to designate more than 600 acres (240 hectares) of wetlands in northern Puerto Rico as the species’ critical habitat. The majority of that property is managed by the U.S. Department of Defense and has been tagged for residential development. The remaining land is managed by the local government.

    The coqui llanero is found only in the wetlands, and if the designation is awarded, the Puerto Rico government and U.S. Defense Department would have to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service before any development is approved, the agency said.

    An endangered species status would make it illegal to kill, harm or capture the frog, which was discovered in 2005 and is one of 17 coqui species. Its eggs have been found only on the bulltongue arrowhead plant.

    Agency spokeswoman Lilibeth Serrano said scientists do not have even a rough estimate of how many coqui llaneros exist in the wild.

    The agency is accepting comments on its proposal through mid-December.

    Puerto Rico’s government has already listed the frog as critically endangered and designated more than 1,500 acres (600 hectares) as its critical habitat.

    Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press.

  2. Pingback: New Australian frog species discovery | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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